Man claims discrimination in Waldo neighborhood after he is labeled ‘suspicious character’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro man claims he was discriminated against in a Waldo neighborhood. Some people in the area are trying to make up for what he is calling a traumatizing experience.

The African American man was waiting for his child to get out of school at Hartman Elementary, near 81st and Oak. Before he could pick up his child, a neighbor pulled up in her car, took a picture of him, then called the cops citing he was suspicious.

27-year-old Brandon Robins was walking around a Waldo neighborhood, killing time before his child got out of school when he says a woman drove up to him, took a photo, then said "I got you."

"The woman who took his picture, called the police, and reported him as a suspicious character."

Waldo Tower Homes Association President Angie Lile saw Brandon's photo posted to the Waldo Neighborhood Facebook page with the caption "keep your eyes open." It was taken down soon after but not before it was shared more than 500 times.

"It raised a lot of conversation of whether or not it was appropriate to post that picture on social media," Lile said.

Brandon didn't want to talk on camera with FOX 4, claiming he is humiliated. The post made its way back around to his family and friends, after a community labeled him suspicious.

The cops showed up and arrested Brandon for failing to pay a pending minor traffic violation. He was let go after paying it. When the neighborhood found out about the whole ordeal, they wanted to help.

"Many of the neighbors wanted to cover the man's legal expenses so they asked if they could donate money," Lile said.

They've raised more than $500 for Brandon, but he told FOX 4 the damage is done. He now feels uncomfortable being in the neighborhood, as if a target is on his back.

"We don't want those few people to define who we are as a neighborhood. And to let him know, you shouldn't be afraid to pick your child from school. Please don't be afraid to come to Waldo," Lile explained.

Neighbors say crime has been up in the neighborhood, so police told them to vigilant. After this incident, neighborhood leaders know they need to find a better way and are meeting with the KCPD this week.

In the meantime, Brandon has started a Facebook page to call for unity.